Hindu Rashtra call not causing enmity: Accused in Jantar Mantar hate slogan case
The Delhi high court on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail application of Preet Singh, an accused in the Jantar Mantar hate sloganeering case, even as his counsel argued that demanding a Hindu Rashtra (nation) would not amount to promoting enmity between religious groups in a democratic setup.
Arguing for Singh, counsel Vishnu Shankar Jain told Justice Mukta Gupta that he would not press his bail if the court held a contrary opinion.
“I say with the greatest sense of responsibility, if the court holds that the demand (of Hindu Rashtra) comes under Section 153 IPC , I will not press my bail application. In a democratic set up, if it (the demand) is promoting enmity, I will not press my bail,” Jain, said for Preet Singh, who was one of the organizers of a march against “colonial laws’ at Jantar Mantar on August 8.
“Nothing is said by my client that attracts section 153A IPC. They are filing a case of Section 34 IPC (common intention) but the event ended at 11:45am and sloganeering happened at 3:45pm. My client was not present at the time,” he stated.
The court was also informed that the main organiser, lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, has already been granted bail.
Counsel Tarang Srivastava, representing the prosecution, stated that all accused persons acted in concert and Singh’s absence at the time of chanting allegedly communal slogans would not absolve him from any liability.
He added that even in his interview, Singh referred to a specific community, which was “part of a series of the same transaction.”
“The main organiser and the accused gave a common interview and said statements (attracting) Section 153A IPC. Thereafter, a co-accused gave another interview. Another leads the chants and another uploads a Facebook live. All acted in furtherance of common intention,” said Srivastava.
Singh is accused of creating enmity between different groups and inciting the youth to propagate against a particular religion at the rally held at Jantar Mantar on August 8.
On August 27, additional sessions judge Anil Antil refused bail to Singh, who was by then arrested in the case by Delhi Police, saying that the right to assemble and freedom to air one’s thoughts are cherished under the Constitution; however, these are not absolute and have to be exercised with inherent reasonable restrictions.